What director David Frankel accomplishes with “Marley and Me” is what was basically a winning formula with “My Dog Skip,” a dog lovers movie about the life that revolves around man’s best friend, that life long companion who disappears much too early to allow unconditional love. “Marley and Me” is a genuine dog lovers movie, one of many that takes the life of a dog owner and plants it on screen with as much realism as writers Scott Frank and Don Roos would allow. And I think what connected audiences to this is that most of what main characters John and Jennifer go through is what we have been through with man’s best friend at one time or another.
“Marley and Me” hit home much too easily and as a dog lover it’s a tearjerker that celebrates dog fanciers that films like “Old Yeller” and “Beethoven” have in the past. The star of the piece Marley is a rambunctious and aggressive dog who poses nothing but trouble for its owners after being adopted and this leads to antics that are relatable to almost anyone whose ever owned a dog. From eating too much to chewing up the furniture, Marley is a strong personality who proves to be an unstoppable force from nearly everyone who crosses his path. “Marley and Me” is a heartbreaking tale of Jennifer and John two newly weds who adopt Marley in lieu of their attempts to have a child. Marley is the hybrid of every bratty dog imaginable with an erratic sense of behavior that keeps them on their toes almost non-stop.
Luke Wilson and Jennifer Aniston seem almost born to play these roles as the mild mannered couple greeted with a raucously precocious gift in their lives that starts out as a normal house pet and becomes the fodder for John’s own professional life. Marley has an inarguably strong hold on the couple to where he’s the focal point of John’s writing as an inadvertent columnist for his local newspaper and an early glimpse at life with that would change the way they feel once duties as parents introduce themselves halfway in to the story.
To put it straight, “Marley and Me” is that tearjerker left exclusively for anyone who has ever owned a dog before and without leaving much to spoil it left me crying like a five year old. “Marley and Me” won’t change the world nor will it break the mold, but as a dramedy with universal themes of friendship, family and the special kind of unbiased love only pets can provide, it works wonders with many genres shining through the film cell and is quite the perfect family movie for anyone in the market for a touching tearjerker. Corny as it may seem, “Marley and Me” made me appreciate my dog a bit more and definitely falls in line as one of the greats of the dog lovers sub-genre. It’s a down to Earth dramedy that I loved unconditionally and I suggest you check it out too.